I ran on a platform of diversity, accountability, and sustainability. And after a year in office, I've been able to zero in on the most promising ways to deliver on that platform.
On the diversity front, a Civic Center that can retain a County library in our City center is vital to ensure residents without access to the internet have a welcoming place in Mount Rainier to get online. It also can provide children without much recreational space a place to hang out after school. In addition, the need to tackle tax reform has become more pressing as housing prices rise. While a boon to one's net worth, the rising price creates higher property taxes. For our residents on fixed incomes, this poses a threat to their ability to age in place. Rising values also limit who can move into our neighborhood, which make the need to explore ideas like community land trusts important to retain our economic and cultural diversity.
On the accountability front, my experience through one year is leading me to craft legislation that addresses how City Departments report out on their deliverables, and how the Mayor and Council can better serve in their role as evaluators of the City Manager. While still in draft mode, I believe that we can improve the reporting structure that takes place between elected officials and City employees to better align with our structure of City government. It also will reflect some basic best practices from the private and public sectors. And to help spur economic growth and revitalize downtown, I am pushing to dramatically improve its streetscapes. Towards that end, I am leading efforts to redevelop Memorial Park and its adjoining streetscape into a space that encourages congregation and foot traffic. I also believe that by investing in public art through my Parks and Art Plan we can create a more lively and positive space to walk through, contributing to economic development.
Last, but certainly not least, while successes were made to encourage recycling in year one, there is much more to do in year two to make Mount Rainier more sustainable. I remain focused on partnering with the County to improve our stormwater management systems, as I believe this is the single-biggest way for us to positively impact the global environment. I also continue to work with the Green Team to find ways the City can encourage or even invest in solar energy or other forms or renewable energy. But perhaps one of the cheapest and easiest ways for us to improve our sustainability is one idea from my Parks and Art Plan - to allow home-owners to volunteer their properties for the tree commission to plant native species in a manner that would connect our native plantings around town to enhance our city's biodiversity.
There is so much more going on - from redeveloping the Kaywood Theater on Varnum Street to looking into a composting program for the City. Whatever your passion, I'm sure we can find a way for you to lend your talents or explore your own idea to improve our City. If you are interested in lending a hand or just have questions, please don't hesitate to email me at [email protected].